When White Russians came as refugees in Eastern Samar
SAN FRANCISCO — A documentary recounting the experience of 6,000 White Russians (refugees from the Russian Revolution) who were exiled to Tubabao, an island in Eastern Samar, was shown at the Philippine Consulate to celebrate the 40th year of Philippines-Russia diplomatic ties.
The documentary, Tubabao Odyssey was shown in partnership with the Consulate of the Russian Federation and the Russian-American Congress. The event is the second in a series of three activities celebrating the 65th anniversary of the exodus of Russian refugees from Tubabao Island to the United States.
The screening was held to make the Filipino American Community aware of “Tiempo Russo,” that part of Philippine history where a young Republic, under President Elpidio Quirino’s leadership, opened its doors to 6,000 Russian refugees.
Apart from the Russian refugees and their families– some of whom traveled from the US East Coast and as far as Australia — Filipino-American professors, teachers and students, as well as members of the media, were invited to the film showing.
Matthew Davis, Office of Foreign Missions associate regional director of external relations, and Elpidio Quirino, grandson of the late President Elpidio Quirino, also attended the event.
Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon welcomed the guests to the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center, stressing the importance of celebrating the values of cooperation, trust and compassion among nations. It was at this moment that the world witnessed the Philippines, Russia and the United States working towards the same goal of sheltering Russians at a turbulent time in its history.
Deputy Consul General of the Russian Federation Andrey Varlamov, and President of the Russian-American Congress Natalie Sabelnik, said that the 6,000 Russians who lived in the Philippines during Tiempo Russo have a debt of gratitude to the Philippine government for opening its doors to them when no other country would.
Guests were able to view the on-going Tiempo Russo Tubabao Island Exhibit that is on display at the Kalayaan Hall until November 11. The closing event will be held at the Russian Consulate on 13 November 2016.